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No matter what type of cyclist you are and no matter your goals, indoor cycling has a huge host of benefits of which you should be taking advantage. We answer all your burning questions about indoor cycling so that you can reap the rewards and take your cycling to the next level.
Whether you’re a cyclist or not, indoor cycling is a fantastic workout. When done correctly, indoor cycling can be a full body workout, targeting not only the legs and cardiovascular system but also the core, arms, shoulders, and back. Cycling indoors is the perfect way to focus on your technique without the distractions that come with being on the open road, so you can really centre on the parts of your body that you want to work.
In order to work your core, try standing out of the saddle and stabilising yourself with your abdominal muscles. To fire up your hamstrings, focus on the pull stroke when pedalling rather than the push (which targets the quads). In order to work your upper body while indoor cycling, you can do push ups on the handlebars, which will work your chest, shoulders and arms.
Despite decades of fad diets and a billion dollar weight loss industry, losing weight isn’t as complicated as it may seem. In order to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat - known as a calorie deficit. So long as you are in a calorie deficit, you will lose weight, and a great way to burn calories is with indoor cycling. So yes, you can lose weight by cycling indoors.
Indoor cycling can actually burn more calories than cycling outdoors, as the higher indoor temperatures mean you may sweat more and you can focus on a more intensive, structured programme. If your goal is to lose weight by cycling indoors, try different workouts such as sprint intervals or hill climbs. There are lots of great workouts available on the Wattbike Hub.
Indoor cycling may seem like it’s less fun than cruising the open road, but in fact there are lots of ways you can make indoor cycling fun. One of the best ways to do so is to cycle to music. You can curate your own playlist or find one online and pedal to the beat. Once you’re enjoying the music, you’ll soon forget that you’re even working out at all.
Another way to make indoor cycling fun is by joining an online cycling competition via an app such as Zwift or Rouvy. The Wattbike Atom allows you to connect to such cycling apps, which in turn allow you to compete against friends, rivals and even professional cyclists. Pros like Lucy Charles-Barclay are often found sweating it out against other cyclists in the virtual world. As soon as you have tangible goals to achieve and like-minded people to compete against, you’ll find the time flies by and you won’t want to stop!
When done mindfully, indoor cycling can definitely build muscle. Thanks to the resistance of the bike, indoor cycling is one of the best ways to sculpt a lean, muscular physique, as it combines resistance training with cardio. Don’t forget that in order to build muscle, you need to make sure you’re eating plenty of protein and eating in a caloric surplus. On top of this, choose specific training programmes to build muscle and train consistently.
Cycling primarily targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves - so mostly lower body muscles. If you also want to build muscle in your upper body, you can supplement your indoor cycling with moves such as press ups on the handlebars and standing climbs. To really work your legs, put your indoor bike trainer into a high gear and practice working against the resistance. This type of slow pedalling will really work your leg muscles to build strength and size.
Indoor cycling is substantially different from outdoor cycling so there are different considerations to make if you want to get better at it. First and foremost you should make sure your indoor cycling space is as comfortable and practical as possible. You’ll likely sweat a lot, so make sure you have a sweat towel handy - perhaps over your handlebars - so you can wipe away any excess sweat from your face and body. Many cyclists position a fan either in front or next to them to help keep cool once the intensity builds.
The best way to have an efficient workout is to follow a pre-written plan. There are lots of indoor cycling workouts available on the Wattbike Hub app which are devised by experts and pro coaches to give you the best indoor cycling workout possible. Choose a programme that is suitable for your goals and stick to the prescribed intensities. This will mean you always get the most from your indoor cycling experience.
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